Every time I visit London, I try to soak up some culture and art. There’s something so unique about the British museums – an insane richness every given moment. On my last visit, I was lucky enough to catch an exhibition at the V&A, dedicated to the legendary designer Christobal Balenciaga.
Today, Balenciaga is a fashion powerhouse led by the Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia. Balenciaga himself lived in years 1895-1972 and dressed such mega-stars of the past as Ava Gardner and such wealthy socialites as Mona Von Bismark, all loving his unique and flattering creations.
Daring Fashion Directions
Like Rei Kawakubo, still active in the fashion world and currently the center of a New York exhibition, Balenciaga too loved avant-garde and big shapes, but combined them with feminine elegance. So, at the exhibition you’ll find evening gowns with open backs and fur sleeves, sexy suits, but also puffy coats, capes and more, all encrusted with amazing handmade elements, dainty pleats and editorial decisions which, in his time (the 50s and the 60s) seemed very daring.
It’s especially interesting to see how his past designs interact with what designers who later took over the house created after Balenciaga’s death – for example, Nicolas Ghesquière, who blossomed at Balenciaga and made a name for himself. We’re living in the world of fashion musical chairs, and it’s always fascinating to see how different talents interpret the ‘language’ of their new fashion house.
The exhibition’s curators displayed, in addition to Balenciaga design, pieces by other designers inspired and influenced by him – from Gareth Pugh, the fashion world’s radical, to Oscar de la Renta, who borrowed Balenciaga’s love for delicate floral prints.
A Unique Experience
Another fun gimmick was the possibility of wearing a Balenciaga design – this tied skirt, for example, which I’m wearing on the photo. Thanks to a clever tying trick, the skirt could become a strapless dress, but doing that turned out to be a complicated mission :) I did away with trying the skirt, which, surprisingly, complimented the shirt and shoes I wore that day quite well. All of this, from the big story the exhibits told to the skirt, built one of the most curious exhibitions I’ve ever been to!
I couldn’t recommend it more, if you’re visiting London soon! The exhibition is on display at the Victoria&Albert Museum until February 2018, so there’s still time. And while you’re there, stop at the wonderful exhibition dedicated to Pink Floyd – it’s the first retrospective of such magnitude for the iconic band, including stunning visual and audio effects, which really bring the band’s spirit alive. Don’t miss!